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Five Ways to Make Retirement Count

Updated on October 16, 2014

1. Be a Blessing not a burden

Retirement. It is what we all work so hard for and can't wait to get to. Retirement. The plans you make and the things you are going to do when you retire. You can't wait until that day finally comes. When it does, make it count.

I can remember my first week of retirement. I slept in until I woke up. Yes, that's right. Until I woke up ....so, instead of 4:45 a.m. it was 6:15 a.m. Now I know that doesn't sound like sleeping in but it was a very nice treat for me. Eventually I could sleep in until 7:30 a.m. Once up and the coffee was brewed, I sat and watched the news. How depressing is that! Then it was fixing breakfast, lunch and dinner for my husband and I. After about a week of fixing meals, cleaning house and watching TV, I was beginning to wonder how long I would last being a maid servant to my husband. Hey, I'm retired too.

The summer brought me much more enjoyment. I could get outside and work in the flower garden, go fishing or take walks with our dog, Jack. But, when the cool weather came back again I couldn't stop thinking that there had to be more to retirement than getting up when you wanted, eating when you wanted and making life revolve around me.

Hopefully this lens will give you some grand ideas about what you can do in your retirement years. Don't be a burden to your family and friends by thinking they should entertain you. No, get out there a be a postive influence to those that surround you. Not only will you feel better about yourself but you will be setting an example for others.

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2. Volunteer

Help someone or some group

Most people don't have time to volunteer. It is a struggle to raise a family and mom and dad must work to make ends meet. So, any extra time that they have is donated to family. My daughter volunteers in the school several days a week and my son-in-law coaches soccer, basketball and football, during their respective seasons. This adds many extra hours to their all ready long days.

Volunteering is not like having a job. Yes, it is a committment but it can be done on your terms. For instance, you volunteer the days and hours that you want, not what someone tells you to do. You are in command. But, believe me, the more you get involved the more you will want to do.

And before you can tell me that you don't know where to start let me give you a few suggestions:

Schools - Every school systems needs volunteers in the elementary classrooms. You can volunteer on the playground too. Stop by the principal's office and let them know you want to help. You will have to have a background check but once that is cleared you will be sitting with a child helping him/her to read or learn how to tell time.

Hospitals - Omigosh. Who doesn't love to hold a baby. There is a need. Or, how about reading to one of the elderly patients or delivering plants and cards to the rooms. The Veterans Hospitals, if there is one near you, can use that kind of help too. Some of these Patriots just need someone to talk to. We should never forget our veterans.

Non-Profit Organizations - The Red Cross is always looking for drivers. These people use a Red Cross vehicle and drive people to doctor appointments or medical treatments. The Salvation Army or Mel Trotter Missions are always looking for people to help make and serve food. Believe me your heart will melt for these people and they will appreciate you very much. You will get back so much more than what you are giving.

The elderly - Yes, I know you are a senior but there are "older" seniors out there that could use a helping hand. Bake some cookies, paint a room or rake a yard. All of these things are demanding activities for the elderly and it will keep you young!

Political Party - If you have a political belief, get out there and back your candidate. Don't just sit in that easy chair complaining about what is going on in our country. Make a difference and back your candidate.

We seniors have so much expertise in so many things. We need to share that knowledge.

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3. Your Church Needs you

Stay active in your church

Please, please stay active in your church. We retiree's DO have the time to be helpful in the church. I hear so many say they are too old or let the young ones do it. NO, no, no. It is everyone's responsibility to use the gifts God has given us.

If your gifts are in teaching please teach. Teach an adult class or a youth class but use your gifts and teach. If you have a gift of Administration please help out the office staff. Organize the next Bible study or church potluck. If there is a need to do some cleaning, get out your scrub bucket and clean, clean, clean.

These rewards will come to you here on Earth and in Heaven. No, I am not talking about monetary rewards but rewards of the heart.

Traveling Coffee Tumblers

With all your new activities you will have to take your coffee with you :)

Cross Body Bags

Ladies, whether traveling or out to the mall on a shopping trip, you will find that a cross body bag is a must have. These bags keep your valuables close to your body and best of all "both hands are free". Once you use a cross body bag you will never go back to throwing your purse over a shoulder. I think your posture is even better with a cross body bag and these days there are so many to choose from. Find one that fits your style in your perfect color.

Be Active

BEING ACTIVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. THE SAYING "USE IT OR LOSE IT" HAS NEVER BEEN TRUER.

4. Find Your Joy

Do something you love

This is your time. Your time to do some of the things you enjoy. If you don't have a hobby, maybe you need one. If you do have a hobby enjoy it. There is so much to do and see, don't let it slip by. No regrets here. Never look back and say "I wish I would have......", you fill in the blank. And, please do not let money make a difference. Ok, maybe you can't visit Paris but you can do some week-end trips or maybe a day trip to one of the summer festivals. Maybe it is just a day spent in the nearest town that has a Museum.

Here are some ideas:

Golfing, fishing, crafting, photography, flower gardening, vegetable gardening, reading, walks, biking and baking.

I think you get the idea. Get out there and enjoy life. Don't be a couch potato.

Painting

Here is a hobby I didn't list. Why not try your hand at painting. A very relaxing hobby which could bring much joy. You might surprise yourself and find out you are pretty good. There are lots of different kinds of painting and there are plenty of books to get you started. Find a hobby store near you and get going.

5. Family Time

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When I was working it seemed I had very little time for some of my greatest pleasures. My grandchildren. I would miss some of their concerts because they would be in the afternoon and I would be WORKING. I would miss a soccer game. You guessed it...I was WORKING. Sleepovers didn't happen all that much. Grandma was tired because I was WORKING. But, now I'm retired. Joy oh joy!

So many things that I can do now that I don't have that job getting in my way. I haven't missed a ball game or school event and sleepovers at least once a month. And, many more in the summer. Now there is time to bake Christmas cookies and candy. HOW IN THE WORLD DID I FIND TIME FOR A JOB????

Now I can bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies (mom has no time) or take the children to a Saturday matinee (mom is home cleaning house and doing laundry). Plus the sleepovers give mom and dad a chance to have a date night.

If you are retired let me know how you spend your time. What have I missed. And, if you are not retired yet....but can't wait until you are. Let me know what you plan on doing when that day finally comes.

Oh and thanks for the visit.

Maybe you could find time to dance

Will You be traveling?

If you plan on traveling when you retire you will need a good camera. You should take as many pictures as possible to keep all those treasured memories of where you have been and what you have done.

Are You Retired?

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    • ShariBerry profile image
      Author

      Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

      @PNWtravels: I've been retired for 5 years and can't believe I found time for a job...so much to do, so little time. Thanks for the blessing, you can never have too many :)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I still have a job, but hope to be "retired" within 3 years. I actually don't think of it as retirement, just a time when I hope to do the work I want to do (paid or not) instead of commuting to an office every day. Blessed by the Healthy Living Senior Citizens neighborhood Squid Angel.